Chapter 11: Expensive Answers, and an Egg

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Session Number: 21
Date: Sunday 16 August 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Enok Rgr4 (Alain) (kills: none)
Krag Clr4 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal4 (Craig) (kills: about 3900gp)
Vor-wrek Mnk4 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

The party return to the Temple, discussing their options on the way. Konni excuses herself, her duty to the party fulfilled. At the temple is Enok, in scholar's robes, weaponless. Rowaine quickly fills Enok in on current events. Enok has some news of his own - he seems to have made friends with a wolf. He also has a request - 2100 gp to buy an egg! It is no ordinary egg; it belongs to a hippogriff - a strange creature that is part horse, part bird of prey.

Enok goes on to say that he freed the mother hippogriff as it was being transported to the city in a caged wagon. The beast communicated its gratitude to Enok, and also its fear for its precious offspring. Enok followed the wagon to its destination - a stronghold belonging to Simon, a trader in exotic items. Enok made contact with Simon, posing as an interested merchant, and an appointment was made to close a deal - tomorrow morning.

Meantime, the reunited party visit Norrel to check whether his wandering sage acquaintance has made contact. He has - Norrel relayed some of our story to him and he has changed his plans to meet us. He is due in the next 2-3 days. Rowaine asks for word to be sent to her at the temple when he arrives.

The next day, Vor-wrek agrees to accompany Enok to the trader's premises while the remainder of the party act as backup in the Happy Harpy, a tavern across the road. Enok and Vor-wrek are led into a blacked-out room with a magically glowing lantern sitting on a large table. Simon then enters. He expresses concern that Enok has been seen having dealings with the temple of Moradin. Enok allays his fears and Simon agrees to continue exploring business with him.

The two adventurers are led downstairs to a basement lit by a similar device. On a table is a box with a large egg inside. The transaction is completed and the two make to leave.

"Buy the way…" Enok adds. "You don't happen to have any books dealing with golems, do you?"

"Golems? Perhaps… Come back in a couple of hours."

Vor-wrek returns to the temple to mind Anassia and the teenagers while Rowaine and Enok leave the city with the rescued egg. Enok leads Rowaine to a copse of trees and out of the underbrush bounds a large wolf, startling Rowaine. Nowhere near as much as when a huge horse-like creature vaults into the clearing towards Enok!

hippogriff.jpg

Rowaine keeps a firm grasp on her waraxe but Enok motions that all is well. He takes the box from Rowaine, opens it and slowly places it on the ground, signalling for them both to retreat. The hippogriff cautiously advances and with a shrill cry of delight, gently grasps the egg in one of its taloned front legs and launches into the air. Massive muscles beat equally massive wings and it rapidly gains height - soon it is but a speck on the horizon. The two return to the city, leaving the wolf in the wilderness.

Enok and Vor-wrek return to the trader's premises at the appointed time and purchase two books - one providing general background on the various types of common golems; the other descibing in general terms the basic materials and spells required to create various golems. Neither book is particularly helpful in determining whether Anassia is a construct.

The next day the party receive a summons from Norrel to the city's main library - his associate has arrived. The party immediately head there with Anassia in tow.

Norrel's associate is a venerable half-elf by the name of Sybel Mindslayer. Rowaine appraises him of the situation and with her permission, Sybel casts a number of divinations.

"Hmmmm. Interesting. The necklace definitely protects the wearer from detection and scrying. And it definitely contains an entity. I have been able to make basic contact with her. She is young, by my reckoning. Young, and on the defensive. She wouldn't answer my questions - just saying that there are places she'd like to be taken."

The party question Sybel regarding their suspicions about Anassia's form - is she 'real', or a construct?

"Oh, she's a construct all right. Of that I have no doubt. A very intricate construct created from one piece of material - not like your typical flesh golem, sewn together from all sorts of bits. She is one living, breathing individual, with thoughts, feelings… Quite extraordinary."

The party ask about the necklace -

"Yes, the necklace has been cursed, specifically to affect the wearer. Rather clever, really… The caster was aware that the necklace prevented most magical forms of attack on its wearer, so they targeted the necklace instead… Quite ingenious. You might describe the curse as a poison. It would have affected a normal human rather quickly - were she indeed human, she would by now be long dead. It is still affecting her, but in different ways, by virtue of her true nature. Happily, for the same reason, I am fairly sure that the decay will halt once the curse or the necklace is removed - and the damage might even be reversed."

Hmmm, thinks Rowaine. Perhaps the caster was unaware of Anassia's true nature…

"Sybel," asks Rowaine. "Do you have any contacts that might be able to either remove the curse from the necklace, or remove the necklace from Anassia?"

"Hmmm… Possibly. The former is likely easier than the latter… Let me ask around; I will get word to you."

The party then return to the temple and ask Fhaschalk whether the priesthood might be able to lift the curse, now that they know it is of psionic origin.

"We can but try. Our priests will have to prepare; they will be ready tomorrow morning."

"Thank you, Fhaschalk. By the way, I feel it prudent to warn you that we have attracted the attention of a group of hired assassins called The Murder. We first encountered tham at the Kharag monastery. We have not directly encountered them since leaving there, but I fear the longer we stay in one place, the greater the chance that they catch up with us. If you wish it, we will of course leave."

"No no no, of course not. You will stay here. But thank you for the warning. I shall increase the number of guards."

Rowaine turns to Enok. "By the way, Enok… When we parted company before entering the city, you said you felt like we were being watched. Did you find out who was doing the watching?"

"Yes."

"Who was it?"

"The wolf."

"Oh."

The following morning Moradin's priests make the attempt, but the curse prevails. The party ask whether another attempt can be made and Fhaschalk says that it can… but perhaps the party might agree to a quest in return..? The party agree.

Four days and four unsuccessful attempts later, the party is in rather large debt to the temple and is no closer to their goal. They decide to return to Norrel and Sybel and try their luck there. Sybel sends word to his contact and he arrives. One attempt and 2000gp later, the curse is removed!

"Sybel," Rowaine begins. "you managed to communicate with the entity once before. Might you be able to do it again?"

"Yes - this case rather interests me… I will agree to act as a channel to the entity within. Who will speak for you? Vor-wrek? Very good. Please, allow me a few minutes…"

Sybel then enters a trance and then speaks in a different language - the same language that Anassia speaks.

"Hello?"

"Hello…" Vor-wrek falters over the word. "How may I address you?"

"Who are you?"

"We are your friends."

"Where am I?"

"You are in a necklace."

"I… I don't understand."

"We will try to help you understand. What is your name?"

"…Anassia."

The last thing Anassia remembers is being woken up in the dark by Valen, in her room on a boat. There was loud shouting and she was frightened. She doesn't know where the boat was headed, only that she was to marry a prince - Prince Arthur, whose father owns a lot of land. She is adamant that she wants to talk to Valen - it is cold and dark where she is, and she is so lonely…

Vor-wrek tries to comfort the girl as best he can, saying that they will speak soon, as soon as they are able.

Rowaine recalls that inland from here there is a holding run by the King's cousin. There is an Arthur in that family that is rumoured to be marrying a foreign girl for political reasons.

Knowledge / Nobility & Royalty check: 24 :-)

The party make contact with Andre.

"Andre, are there any recent stories about damaged ships or shipwrecks in the area?"

"Why, yes. A couple of months ago a shipwreck was retrieved - the ship was destroyed by fire. Some of the sailors were rescued."

"Was one of the survivors called 'Valen'?"

"I do remember that name… He is still in the city, if memory serves… I think he is employed as a labourer."

"Andre, do you think you might be able to track him down?"

"Hmmm, let me just check my schedule… I think I can squeeze that in… for 5 gold a day, plus expenses."

"Done. Let us know the minute you find anything."

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